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Protest Rights

“For me, Garden Court is a ‘go-to set’ for protest work. Their counsels’ knowledge and skill in this specialist area is in a different class. They are approachable, understand what drives protest clients and how to represent them in and out of court. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”

Raj Chada, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors

"The set enjoys a strong reputation for claimants challenging police misconduct”

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Police Law

"Impressed solicitors note that the individuals at the set represent an amazing level of excellence."

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Police Law

"The barristers at Garden Court Chambers are well versed in the representation of protesters in both civil and criminal litigation. The team is regularly called upon to handle complex challenges to injunctions preventing occupations, and offers significant expertise in the criminal defence of protesters charged with trespass and breaches of public orders."

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Protest Rights

"The set's members are routinely involved in high-profile cases arising from major protests"

Chambers UK Bar Guide - Protest Rights

To contact the Criminal Defence Clerks, please email

To contact the Civil Liberties Clerks, please email

Alternatively, please call +44 (0)20 7993 7600

Garden Court Chambers is nationally renowned for its expertise in successfully defending the right to protest for a wide range of progressive campaigners.

We have a long history of representing protestors in criminal and civil litigation, over many decades including the Mangrove 9, Poll Tax protestors, striking miners at Orgreave, Brian Haw’s occupation of Parliament Square and the Occupy movement.

We have been instructed to represent activists in most of the major protests of recent years including those against fracking, climate change, racism, war, austerity and the arms trade.

Protecting the right to freedom of expression and assembly is at the core of our founding ethos to hold state agents to account and promote fundamental human rights.

The Garden Court Chambers Crime Team has been shortlisted as 'Crime Set of the Year' at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023.


Garden Court is unique in possessing expertise across all areas of the law relating to protest: from criminal defence to injunctions to civil action and public law challenges. 

Our protest law barristers are regularly instructed by all of the solicitor firms ranked by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) as ‘Highly Commended’ in their Protest Solicitors List. Netpol monitors public order, protest and street policing.

Garden Court Chambers is highly ranked by the legal directories for protest law as well as police actions, criminal defence, civil liberties and human rights, including a number of Band 1 silks and juniors. Clients benefit from our multi-disciplinary expertise across all of these areas, allowing us to provide a seamless service, unrivalled by most other chambers.

We have a long-standing track record of pursuing bold and innovative points of law through the courts to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. We have represented campaigners in the criminal courts and the civil courts, including the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. 

Our barristers have lectured and written widely on protest law. Members of our team have written ‘The Protest Handbook’, which covers both the criminal and civil aspects of protest law. 

We are closely involved in the Netpol Lawyers Group, a group of protest lawyers affiliated to the Network for Police Monitoring.



Garden Court barristers have significant expertise challenging the use of civil injunctions by public authorities and corporations to prevent and restrict the rights of protesters, including injunctions against “persons unknown. We have acted in most of the lead cases in which injunctions under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 were transposed to the protest context. 

We also have extensive knowledge of human rights defences to civil injunctions associated with our leading expertise defending the rights of Gypsies and Travellers.

We have successfully challenged injunctions against animal rights protestors and environmental protestors, for example Plane Stupid and anti-fracking protestors demonstrating against INEOS and UKOG.


Civil Claims and Public Law Challenges

Our Civil Liberties and Public Law barristers can assist solicitors and campaigners with:

  • Upholding protestors' rights under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Challenging the excessive or unlawful use of force by police officers
  • Obtaining apologies
  • Securing compensation where authorities and companies have acted unlawfully
  • Changes to police practice through disciplinary and civil actions against the police
  • Judicial review proceedings where the law has been misapplied
  • Pre-emptively, or after the event, public law challenges to unlawful arrests, police decisions to take DNA, fingerprints or photos, decisions to retain or disclose sensitive personal information to third parties on criminal records checks for employers, or visa applications
  • Pre-litigation advice to campaigners on criminal and civil liability for direct action protests.
  • Planning and environmental law challenges and injunctions on behalf of campaigners to prevent unlawful development and climate change emissions

To contact the Crime Clerks, please email or phone +44 (0)20 7993 7600


Defending protestors in criminal proceedings

Our criminal defence protest law barristers are nationally renowned for representing protesters in the criminal courts alongside the top ranked protest solicitors in the UK. They have gathered a wealth of knowledge from many of the most high profile protest cases in recent years. 

Our criminal defence team has secured a number of acquittals including for Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, Occupy protestors, anti-fracking campaigners, peace activists and many more (see examples of notable cases below).

In 2015 our crime team won the Legal 500 Crime Set of the Year Award and we have since been shortlisted for the award a further two times.

How our criminal defence protest specialists can help:

  • Devising and deploying new and innovative ways to defend protestors and challenge State abuse of power
  • Scrutinising and challenging police powers (e.g. stop and search) or CPS decisions 
  • Representing defendants in court charged with public order offences
  • Mobilising human rights arguments during criminal trials

To contact the Crime Clerks, please email or phone +44 (0)20 7993 7600


Recent notable cases and news

Just Stop Oil Protestor who sprayed New Scotland Yard sign cleared of Criminal Damage

Owen Greenhall is a member of the Garden Court Protest Team. He was instructed by Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors.

17 May 2024

Marguerite Russell features in Channel 4 documentary 'Defiance: Fighting the Far Right'

Defiance: Fighting The Far Right, the landmark Channel 4 documentary series will examine the political and social struggles faced by Britain’s Asian community between 1976 and 1981. The series will cover the Bradford 12's extraordinary trial. Marguerite R

3 April 2024

Director of Public Prosecutions abandons application to take Iain Duncan Smith ‘Tory Scum’ case to Supreme Court

Tom Wainwright and Elena Papamichael, both of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team, represented Ruth Wood, instructed by Lydia Dagostino of Kellys Solicitors. Owen Greenhall, of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team, represented Radical Haslam, leading Mir

20 March 2024

Henry Blaxland KC, Owen Greenhall and Tom Wainwright appear in Court of Appeal for acquitted protestor in Attorney General’s Reference on ‘belief in consent’ defence

Henry Blaxland KC, Owen Greenhall and Tom Wainwright, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights and Criminal Defence teams, represented the acquitted person, instructed by Lydia Dagostino of Kellys Solicitors.

18 March 2024

Protestor at Palestine march arrested for wearing Keffiyah scarf wins case

Audrey Cherryl Mogan of the Garden Court Protest Law Team represented the protestor, instructed by Sarah Robertson of Birnberg Peirce.

29 February 2024

Protestor at Palestine march arrested for wearing Keffiyah scarf wins case

Audrey Cherryl Mogan of the Garden Court Protest Law Team represented the protestor, instructed by Sarah Robertson of Birnberg Peirce.

29 February 2024

Climate campaigner acquitted of conspiring to shut down Heathrow Airport

Michael Goold of the Garden Court Protest Law Team acted for the client, instructed by Raj Chada of Hodge, Jones & Allen Solicitors.

5 January 2024

High Court Dismisses DPP's Appeal Against Acquittal of Protestors Who Called Iain Duncan Smith “Tory Scum”

Tom Wainwright led Elena Papamichael. Owen Greenhall led Mira Hammad. Tom, Elena and Owen are members of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights Team.

21 November 2023

Extinction Rebellion activists cleared of £500,000 damage to HSBC

Owen Greenhall, of the Garden Court Protest Team, acted for an Extinction Rebellion protestor, instructed by Jane Cleasby of Kellys Solicitors.

17 November 2023

Extinction Rebellion protestors cleared of criminal damage to Treasury building

Michael Goold, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights Team, was instructed by Jenny Winter of Birds Solicitors.

17 November 2023

Tom Wainwright acts for defendant cleared of violent disorder at protest

Tom Wainwright of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Rights Team acted for the defendant, instructed by Hester Cavaciuti of Bindmans LLP, who was assisted by Shivani Soni, trainee solicitor.

16 November 2023

Russell Fraser acts in successful appeal against ‘Kill the Bill’ protestor's sentence

Russell Fraser, of the Garden Court Protest Team, acted for the Appellant. He was instructed by Laura O’Brien of Hodge Jones & Allen.

10 November 2023

Garden Court secures top tier rankings in the Legal 500 UK 2024

Garden Court Chambers is proud to be recognised as a Top Tier set again in the Legal 500 UK 2024 rankings.

4 October 2023

Kathryn Cronin and Danielle Manson shortlisted at Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2023

We are delighted to announce that Kathryn Cronin and Danielle Manson of Garden Court Chambers have both been shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2023 (LALYs).

19 May 2023

Tom Wainwright and Justine Compton appointed as Recorders

We are delighted to announce Tom Wainwright (Call: 2003) and Justine Compton (Call: 2005) of Garden Court Chambers have been newly appointed as Recorders by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

18 May 2023

Palestine Action protestors found not guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal damage

The five defendants were represented by Owen Greenhall and Audrey Cherryl Mogan of the Garden Court Protest Team.

25 November 2022

Tom Wainwright represents protestor acquitted of abusing and insulting Iain Duncan Smith

Tom Wainwright of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team represented the defendant. Tom was instructed by Kate Hallam of Kellys Solicitors.

16 November 2022

Garden Court Protest Team statement regarding The Public Order Bill 2022

17 October 2022

Protestor found not guilty of Violent Disorder in ‘Kill the Bill’ trial

Owen Greenhall of the Garden Court Protest Team represented the defendant instructed by Hussain Hassan of Commons Solicitors.

26 August 2022

Garden Court Crime Team statement on no returns action

30 March 2022

High Court discharges injunctions in INEOS protestor cases

Stephen Simblet QC, of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties and Protest Teams, represented Joe Corré in the most recent proceedings.

25 March 2022

Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ protester acquitted of riot

Russell Fraser, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team, represented JY instructed by Freya Colvin of Hodge Jones and Allen.

8 February 2022

High Court dismisses contempt of court against Insulate Britain activists

Owen Greenhall, joint-convenor of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team, represented three defendants in these committal proceedings.

4 February 2022

Helen Foot, Emma Fenn and Gráinne Mellon appointed as Recorders

We are delighted to announce that Helen Foot (Call: 2008), Emma Fenn (Call: 2010) and Gráinne Mellon (Call: 2010) of Garden Court Chambers have been newly appointed as Recorders by the Queen.

26 January 2022

Tom Wainwright secures acquittal for Black Lives Matter protestor after prosecution drop charge of violent disorder

Tom Wainwright, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team, was instructed by Alexandra Riddington of Traymans Solicitors.

17 January 2022

XR protestors cleared by jury in DLR trial

Owen Greenhall joint-convenor of the Garden Court Protest Rights Team represented all three of the defendants. He was instructed by Mike Schwarz at Hodge Jones and Allen. Tom Wainwright acted for a fourth defendant whose case was discontinued.

14 January 2022

Colston statue topplers acquitted

Tom Wainwright of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team represented Milo Ponsford, the first of four defendants charged with criminal damage for toppling the statue of Edward Colston, the notorious 17th century slave trader.

5 January 2022

Elena Papamichael joins Garden Court Chambers Crime Team

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce Elena Papamichael is now a member of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence Team.

4 January 2022

Christian Climate Action Defendants who climbed atop DLR train in protest acquitted of all charges on International Human Rights Day

Six defendants protesting against government inaction about climate change have been found not guilty by a jury, who found that a conviction would not be a proportionate interference with their right to protest.

10 December 2021

Tom Wainwright successfully appeals conviction of HS2 protestor for protecting wildlife

Tom Wainwright, of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team, represented the appellant. Tom was instructed by Simon Natas and Anna Renou of ITN Solicitors.

17 November 2021

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

Another XR Conviction Overturned

Shina Animashaun of the Garden Court Chambers Protest Team successfully overturned XR conviction for client Neil Traynor. He was instructed by Adeela Khan of Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson.

12 August 2021

Past Notable Cases


DPP v Ziegler [2021] 3 WLR 179
Seismic Supreme Court decision which re-cast the balance of protest rights in England and Wales back towards demonstrators. The defendants were acquitted of obstructing the highway leading to the DSEI arms fair. The Court held that intentional action by protestors to disrupt the activities of others could come under the protection of the right to freedom of expression within the European Convention on Human Rights, even when the obstruction was more than minimal.

‘The Stansted 15’: R v Thacker [2021] 2 WLR 1087
In 2017 the ‘Stansted 15’ took action to prevent a deportation flight removing people from the UK and taking them to countries where their lives were at risk due to their sexuality. In 2021, the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions for ‘Endangering Safety at an Aerodrome’, holding that the defence interpretation of this rarely charged offence was correct and the court should have acceded to their submission that there was no case to answer. Reported in BBC and Guardian.

INEOS vs Persons Unknown [2019] EWCA Civ 515
We represented environmental campaigners in this successful complex challenge against a High Court injunction brought by the fracking company, INEOS, and designed to deter protest against fracking. This injunction was described as one of the most wide-ranging ever granted against protestors. The case went to the Court of Appeal on a point of principle about suing “persons unknown”. The judgment recognised the serious chilling effect of the INEOS injunction on civil liberties and makes clear that the Court will intervene to prevent powerful companies like INEOS using draconian injunctions to intimidate and deter people from participating in lawful protest against fracking. Reported in Independent and Drill or Drop

UK Oil and Gas (UKOG) v Persons Unknown [2018] EWHC 2252 (Ch)
Represented six environmental campaigners who took legal action in high-profile challenge seeking to overturn a broad injunction sought by UK Oil and Gas against “persons unknown”, prohibiting lawful acts of protest against fracking activities. Reported in Guardian and Drill or Drop

Sheffield City Council v Brooke [2018] EWHC 1540 (QB)
First time High Court acknowledges defence of another as a defence to contempt of court. Sheffield tree protestor facing committal proceedings. 

‘Rotherham 12’ acquitted of violent disorder against far-right extremists 
Twelve Asian defendants were charged with violent disorder after a peaceful anti-fascist demonstration was directed into the path of vicious far-right football hooligans by South Yorkshire police. Ten of the twelve defendants were unanimously acquitted by a jury following a trial in October 2016, three of whom were represented by Garden Court counsel. Not Guilty verdicts were also entered against the remaining two, both represented by Garden Court, after further material came to light affecting the credibility of a key police witness. 

R(DPP) v Stratford Magistrates Court [2017] EWHC 1794 (Admin)
High Court considered scope of Prevention of Crime Defence in protest cases. The DPP brought a judicial review against the acquittal, by a district judge, of anti-arms fair protestors on the basis they acted in order to prevent crime by the sale of illegal weapons at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair. Eight protesters who blocked roads outside the DSEI arms fair in 2015 were found not guilty. The defendants argued that they were acting to prevent the illegal sale of torture equipment and weapons sold to countries that abused human rights. Garden Court acted at trial and on appeal. Reported in Guardian and Independent.

Occupy Protest acquittals
Garden Court represented four protestors from Occupy Democracy who were cleared of charges relating to a protest in Parliament Square in October 2014. The four were part of a group of protestors who were arrested after sitting on a tarpaulin and were charged with an offence of keeping in place ‘sleeping equipment’ in Parliament Square Gardens. This case was one of the first mass arrests under the PRSRA 2011 legislation governing Parliament Square. Following the judgment, the CPS offered no evidence against a further eight defendants facing similar charges. Reported in London Evening Standard

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